Tar Driveway Sealing Techniques

Your asphalt driveway gets regularly assaulted by the elements. Whether it is rain, snow, sleet, hail or runoff from your sprinklers, water can wreak havoc in your driveway. Therefore, it is important to seal your driveway every year to three years, depending on the weather conditions where you live.

Sealing an Asphalt Driveway
The first step to sealing an asphalt driveway is to check your weather report. You will want to make sure that you are not going to get rain for at least two days and that the temperature is going to stay above 50° F. If it rains or if the temperature drops below 50°, the coating will not seal or dry properly.

Prepping Your Blacktop Driveway
Believe it or not, most of your time in sealing your driveway is actually going to be spent preparing the surface. The steps are as follows:

  • Trim any grass along the sides of your driveway so that nothing is hanging over or in contact with your driveway's surface.
  • Pull out any grass that is growing in cracks.
  • If your asphalt is really cracked or deteriorated, use a hammer or mallet and chisel to remove the damaged blacktop. Don't forget to use eye protection.
  • Make sure to get rid of any loose dirt as well.
  • Sweep your driveway with a stiff brush or broom.
  • Clean any oil or gas stains with the appropriate detergents, including any oil and gas in cracks.
  • Wash off your driveway using your garden hose with a pressurized sprayer attachment.
  • Let your driveway dry completely.

Repairing Cracks and Holes in Your Driveway

  • Cracks of ¼" or less can usually be filled with tar driveway sealant.
  • Cracks or holes between ¼" and ½" should be filled with patching materials that you can purchase at your local home center. Use a putty knife to push the material into the crack or hole. Keep on applying and pushing the material until the crack or hole is filled, then smooth the surface with the putty knife.
  • If your crack or hole is over ½", you will need asphalt cold patch. After you pour the cold patch into the crack or hole, cover the patch with sand. You will have to tamp the area with a 4 X 4 post until the cold patch is level with your driveway. The sand will help prevent the cold patch from sticking to the 4 X 4.
  • If you are filling a crack or hole larger than ½", you will also need to use cold patch. You should overfill the area. You will still need to cover the cold patch with some sand, then take a large piece of plywood and cover the cold patch. After the area is covered, drive your car over the plywood several times until the cold patch is at the same level with the rest of your driveway.
  • Let the areas that you have repaired dry according to the time specified by the filler's manufacturer.

Sealing Your Driveway

After your patches have dried, get your bucket of coating product and turn it upside down before opening it. The heavier materials in your coating will have settled at the bottom of the container. When you flip the container over, you will make mixing the coating easier.

Open the can and mix the contents of your coating with a clean stick. You will have to mix the contents from time to time as you use the sealant to prevent settling and to keep the same consistency.

Pour enough sealer into a corner so that you can cover roughly 20 square feet. If you have never sealed your tar driveway before, you will have to experiment a little.

Using a roller, a squeegee or a brush with a long handle, spread the sealant over your driveway, making sure that the sealant overlaps with each pass. The applications should be relatively thin so that the sealant will dry within a day or two. Thicker is not better.

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